Tennessee baseball has become the hottest ticket in town. And now, if you want to go to the Super Regional games next weekend at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, you’d better be ready to drop several hundreds of dollars.
Capitalizing on the fervor the BaseVols have created with their 48 wins, repeated comebacks and sensational walk-off victories that have set the internet and #VolTwitter ablaze, the UT AD sold the lion’s share of tickets to season-ticket holders and big-money donors.
Reportedly, at 8:30 AM, the tickets went on sale and were available exclusively by phone. (How ridiculous is that?) And by 9 AM, the game was officially sold out, according to the Tennessee ticket office.
Just 500 tickets were available to the general public, according to Tom Satkowiak, Tennessee’s associate athletics director for communication (and I’ve heard whispers that the number was even lower than that, like 250-300). Context: Lindsey Nelson’s official capacity is 4,283, though they’ve been packing in considerably more than that by selling “standing-room only,” tickets, too.
Season-ticket holders were allowed to request up to eight tickets, while those who called in to the ticket office (and were lucky enough to actually get through) could only purchase four tickets (Satkowiak says folks could get four tickets, but I heard just two tickets was the maximum).
“As with any postseason appearance for our ticketed sports,” Satkowiak said, “Whether that’s football bowl games, basketball NCAA Tournaments, baseball and softball regionals — priority for postseason tickets goes to season-ticket holders and Tennessee Fund donors.”
And predictably, shortly after the sell-out, tickets surfaced on secondary sites like Vivid Seats and TicketSmarter, for upwards of $500.
It’s sorta ironic, because Satkowiak justified by-phone-only distribution method as a discouragement for ticket scalpers and bots (which is just reseller code for software applications that essentially make the online-checkout process instantaneous for whomever is operating it).
Last week, tickets for the Knoxville Regional went on sale Monday morning, while this week they waited until Wednesday to put the Super Regional tickets up for grabs. Obviously the games weren’t all finished in time for a Monday sale, but there was still a delay, and I’d imagine it was a little extra time for seats to go out the backdoor.
Look, I understand the AD has bills to pay, raises to give coaches and facilities to build. I also understand that lots of palms have to be greased to make those kinda things happen.
But, it’s the regular-Joe fans that showed up all season to support this team, and it’s the 9-5 fans who made LNS such an “extremely hostile environment,” to borrow a quote from LSU Manager Paul Mainieri. It’s these fans who packed LNS no matter what the moving target of capacity was, and these are the same folks who show up to the tune of 90,000-plus in Neyland every week despite the football program being a shit show for over a decade.
I dunno — this whole ordeal fills a lot like the fans got little-brother’d by their own athletic department. And all this, on the same day Danny White and the AD want to launch their “My All,” money-grab campaign? Not a good look.
Did you try for tickets? Let us know about your experience in the comments.